Our History

History of Chol

Chol Theatre was set up in 1989 as a partnership between husband and wife team Adam and Kim Strickson. Chol – the name is a Bangla word meaning the sound of water lapping against the side of a boat – presented a mix of professional and community productions. International exchanges and development education featured strongly in the early days.

In 1995, the company was established as a charity with a mission to bring artists and communities together to make work that reflected diverse voices. The work portrayed everyday life in northern industrial towns, from friendships across divides to the 2001 riots in Bradford and Oldham. Productions included Three Beaches, Rusty Angels and a Transit Van, The Beautifully Loose Asia Show and The Ghost Lesson.

By 2002 the founders had left and Susan Burns became director, working on a number of community projects with children and young people, with a focus on refugee and asylum seeker families. In 2004, we became a resident company at Huddersfield’s Lawrence Batley Theatre, where we have gone from strength to strength.

Susan has worked alongside notable resident artists, writers and directors including Shanaz Gulzar, Anna Zaluczkowska, Joanne Froggatt, Rebecca Winwood, and Andrew Loretto. Chol Theatre has toured plays and projects across the north of England including Space Circus, Beast Market, Have You Seen Evangeline, Worlds Apart, Extraordinary Moves and HD100.

In 2012, Vicky Storey joined the team and worked with the company to develop ‘Imaginary Communities’  and greatly extended the company’s programme of work with children and young people. We created a trilogy of plays with children and young people in Rotherham Taking Back the Town (2015) Tribo Fogo (2016) and Escape Realms (2019).

The core company team expanded in 2018 to include Lauren Ash and Jessica Woodhead. In 2019 we rebranded and our name is now simply ‘Chol’.

We are now national leaders in live story-making using co-creation to develop our projects.

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